Prior to COVID-19, the (re)insurance industry was already facing a range of challenges. The widespread impact of a global lockdown added to this challenging market and created the potential for even greater volatility. For an industry founded on the principles of diversification, we are now grappling with the implication of the first globally systemic insurance loss. COVID-19 is also taking its toll on mental health worldwide. The ongoing health and economic crises are causing enormous loss, change and uncertainty and disrupting support networks and essential services.
Symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression spiked during the initial months of coronavirus outbreaks and lockdowns; two-thirds of companies that offer employee assistance programs (third-party counseling services) saw their use increase. The outlook is grim, as there is typically a lag between major events and increased demand for support, and some drivers, such as distributed working, will outlast the pandemic. An echo pandemic of mental ill health is on its way, according to Kavitha Hariharan, Director, Healthy Societies, Marsh McLennan Advantage and Adrienne Cernigoi, Content Specialist, Advisory Solutions & Insight, Mercer.